The T-90 "Bhisma" MBT, made locally and the mainstay of Indian Army is of Russian origin

KOLKATA: Secretary in the Department of Defence Production, Ajay Kumar on Friday said that India has overtaken China as the world's largest arms importer and should shed the tag.

He said that the public-private partnership in defence in the country is being encouraged to step up arms exports and licensing system in some items had been liberalised.

"India is the world's largest arms importer, a place which earlier belonged to China", he said over video conference from Delhi at a seminar organised by Bharat Chamber of Commerce here on Friday.

Kumar said, "If China could (reduce dependence on imports productions) then why cannot India"?

Citing the instance of Mexico, he said that the Central American country has established a huge aero-manufacturing base, and exports to the US and Europe.

According to Kumar, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are responsible for 74 per cent of the global arms trade.

"What part of that pie we need to have (sic)?", he asked, adding that many countries were willing to buy arms from India.

Kumar said that testing infrastructure would be set up for the private sector also.

Former chief of Air Staff, Arup Raha said, "unfortunately India continues to depend on imports for high-end weapon systems".